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Will Consider Insurance Coverage For Workers Performing Last Rites Of Covid Victims, Center Tells SC | India News


NEW DELHI: The Center told the Supreme Court on Monday that it would consider granting insurance coverage on the lines of other frontline workers to those who work in crematoria and helping carry out the last rites of Covid victims, rating the topic as a “valid concern”.
A special holiday bank made up of judges Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah, who reserved the verdict on two grounds requesting ex gratia compensation of 4 lakh rupees for the dependents of those who died from Covid, was informed by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal that people who work in crematoria have been left without insurance coverage.
Bansal, who presented one of the PILs on the issue, said crematory workers are becoming infected and succumbing to the deadly disease.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Center, agreed with the enormity of the problem and said it was a “valid concern.”
“It is a very valid concern. Members of the crematorium are not covered by the insurance plan. I will take care of this aspect. Currently, more than 22 lakh of health workers are covered by the insurance plan, ”Mehta told the court during the hearing via videoconference.
The government has already extended for one more year, starting in April 2021, the benefit of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Plan’ from 50 lakh rupees to about 22 lakh of health professionals, he said.
The higher court, which asked the Center whether the NDMA, headed by the Prime Minister, has made a decision not to pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the families of Covid victims, said that a uniform compensation plan should be established as different The amount paid by different states would cause heartburn among beneficiaries.
The court’s observations came when attorney Sumeer Sodhi, representing four intervening applicants who had lost their relatives to Covid, stated that there can be no discrimination in the amounts that different states pay to the relatives of those who had succumbed to the fatal infection .
“There has to be a central scheme that has to be uniform for all victims,” ​​he said, adding that financial limitations cannot be a reason for the Center to deviate from its legal obligations to pay compensation.
Sodhi said that some states pay a higher sum in compensation and others pay less and that this discrimination should not be allowed to remain and the Center should frame a uniform policy under the Disaster Management Act.
The bank noted that the Finance Commission’s recommendations on disaster management cannot override legal compensation schemes under section 12 of the DMA.
However, he disagreed with a lawyer’s presentation that the Center under the DMA should award 4 lakh rupees as a thank you to the families of the victims of the pandemic.
“Every disaster is different. There can be large and small pandemics. Either a big flood or little food. If the standard or severity of a pandemic is higher, then it cannot be said that the same standard can be applied for every disaster, ”the bank said, adding that the presentation may be that there should be a scheme.
Mehta said that granting ex gratia is not the only thing, under the schemes of the Finance Commission, and measures have been taken to mitigate the suffering.
“Everyone has the right to 2 kg of rice and 5 kg of legumes as part of food security. The improvement of the level of oxygen production was also contemplated in the law. Even the free vaccination was there too, ”Mehta said.
“We have to keep in mind that this is an ongoing process and rather than one-time relief in case of death, it is better if we opt for multiple preparation,” he said.

Times of India